Saturday, August 02, 2008

Time to Invest in Solar? MIT professor Daniel Nocera Claims Revolutionary Breakthrough

I'm usually sceptical of new "breakthroughs" that claim to be a solution to our energy conundrum. But I'm not so cynical as to not get excited when something interesting comes along. In this case the researchers seem credible; the university (MIT) is credible; the publications are credible and the scientists commenting on it are all credible. Could be the breakthrough we have all been waiting for? Count me in as hopeful. After reading these articles I think I'll put a few thousand in the Solar sector for long-term and see what happens.

MIT professor Daniel Nocera

Popular Mechanics: MIT announced on Thursday afternoon a new method of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, predicting that it will unleash a "solar revolution." And they're partly right. The research, which appears in the new issue Science, has little to do with solar power as we usually think of it. But it has wide-reaching implications as a storage medium, making renewable but intermittent energy sources like the sun and wind more practical for everyday use.

This is just a tiny sample of articles from today's press as the news exploded world wide:
Boston Globe: Cheap solar at night? MIT may have answer
Christian Science Monitor: MIT researchers attain solar ‘nirvana’
Reuters: MIT develops way to bank solar energy at home
ABC News: MIT Discover Inexpensive Way To Store Solar Energy
New York Times:Hydrogen Hopes Revived?
Scientific American: Solar Powered Fuel Cells
Belfast Telegraph: Scientists find cheap way to turn water into fuel
Salt Lake Tribune Fuel cells eyed for energy storage
Boston HeraldDiscovery uses solar power 24/7
UK Guardian: Scientists make solar power advance
Associated Press: Research could cut cost of energy from fuel cells
Popular Mechanics: MIT's Latest 'Breakthrough' a New Hope?
Popular Science: A New Dawn for Solar Energy


  1. Sounds great, but I wonder how long it will take to getting it from the lab to actually being able to implement it?

  2. Apparently, this is a very simple and inexpensive technology that can be engineered and implemented immediately. If it lives up to the potential envisioned, you will not recognize the world (in terms of energy sources) 10 years from now.

  3. ....unless the catalyst is made from unobtainium

  4. I hope this discovery can be exploited as much as possible, particularly on an industrial scale. Of course, the more successful it becomes at enabling large-scale alternative energy production, the more it will be opposed by environmentalists. For details, see

    Kudos to Daniel Nocera for the latest breakthrough. Megakudos on reserve for whoever commercializes this technology.

  5. This is great news... but Mike P.? You think environmentalists will oppose the technology? I think what you've got there is a strawman.

    Leave it to the neocons to insist that up is down, in is out, peace is war.

    Looking forward to the eventual complete collapse of Neoconservatism.

  6. The solar millennium has eventually been unleashed!!!

    Imagine the potential if combined with solar thermal power plants, as such build in Spain (Andasol I-III) by Solar Millennium.

    Solar thermal power plants are the most efficient way today to convert sunlight to electricity in large scale and utility scale. Remaining process heat can be used for sea water desalination.

    The desalinated water can then be used for hydrogen production.

    The hydrogen can then be shipped or used to co-fire the plant on cloudy days or when the molten salt heat storage systems are too cold.

    The water desalination is essential, or we'll have the biofuel fight again, but this time we'd be taking peoples water away.


Please keep it clean. Comments do not reflect the opinion of this blog and are the sole opinion of the commenter. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason. Of course, opposing views are welcomed.

Auto-flagged and monitored IP addresses:
Teksavvy - IP 76.10.141, Onterio, Canada.
Charter Communications - IP 68.188.68. Ballwin, Missouri